Navigating the Winter Doldrums


I have a confession to make.  I have a difficult time in the winter.  I am fine up until the day after Christmas, and then just like any hang over, it hits me like a ton of bricks.  It’s all over, and there’s nothing to look forward to except spring (which is a good three months off, it gets dark early, it’s cold, and when it snows, everything gets thrown out of whack).  


So my usual dysfunctional way of dealing with it is to wallow in comfort food (like I didn’t SO get enough of that during the holidays), not exercise and generally give in to feeling really blah, and then complaining to anyone who’ll listen how cold it is and how miserable I am.  Seriously, who wants to hear that? 

Since my word for 2011 is Simplify, and being depressed does not manifest itself in the simplify category, I decided to “take a different path” if you will regarding letting myself get SO down this year. 

Along with my word of the year, I also make resolutions, but I give myself a break and plant the seed about New Year’s and then usually I’ll kick it around for a few weeks and then implement my plan around the end of January, which is exactly what happened this year.  Except this year, I wrote down exactly what I wanted to change about my life.


Here’s what I’ve discovered so far:

  • Exercise helps SO much in battling the winter blues.  I have been going to the gym and doing circuit weight training on 11 machines – 2 rounds on each machine, as much as I can do and as heavy as I can stand.  Before I start weight training, I do 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer and either 10 minutes on the treadmill or stationary bike.  In between sets of circuit training, I do another 10 minutes of cardio, and then stretch really well when I’m done. 
  • My goal is to build lots of lean muscle and try running.  I’ve never been a runner (except when I was a kid, and just for fun).  As my Mom has told me for years, weight training is critically important for women, especially when they get into their 40s and beyond.  Most importantly, it helps to protect your bones, and it also speeds up your metabolism and thereby your body burns more calories.  Anything that can help me burn more calories I’m all for.
  • I’ve been walking Annie every day lately – 2.5 miles on a flat surface around the neighborhood which takes me about 45 minutes, and something I plan to continue.  She really needs to get out and exercise too.
  • Mentally gearing yourself up to exercise is 90% of the battle.
  • I realize that I will have to change things up to keep building muscle and losing weight, and I will hire a personal trainer to navigate those hurdles when the time comes.

In the meantime, slow and steady and one day at a time.  This isn’t a fad thing, it’s a lifestyle change.

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